Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 11, 2022

Civilians flee eastern Ukraine as Russian offensive looms, France's Macron heads to a runoff against far-right rival Le Pen, and more

1

Civilians flee eastern Ukraine ahead of Russia offensive

Civilians rushed to leave eastern Ukraine on Sunday as invading Russian forces shifted away from efforts to take the capital, Kyiv, and other areas in the north, and focused on a renewed push to take the southeastern port city of Mariupol and the contested eastern region of Luhansk. Satellite images released by the U.S. space technology firm Maxar Technologies showed an eight-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles heading through eastern Ukraine. European countries have started reopening embassies in Kyiv since Russian forces gave up on taking the city. After a series of setbacks, Russia appointed a new Ukraine war commander, Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, a U.S. official said Sunday.

2

Macron headed for runoff with far-right rival Le Pen

French President Emmanuel Macron will face far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a rematch of their 2017 presidential-election runoff, according to Sunday projections based on preliminary ballot counts published by French polling agencies. Shortly after voting closed, Macron was projected to get 28.5 percent of the vote, with Le Pen close behind with 24.2 percent thanks to a late surge fueled by dissatisfaction with rising prices, and security and immigration problems. Political analysts credited the anti-NATO Le Pen's performance to the appeal of her conservative politics as the war in Ukraine fuels nationalist currents across Europe. Despite a lackluster campaign, Macron is favored to win the April 24 second round.

3

Cheney denies Jan. 6 panel divided over Trump criminal referral

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Sunday disputed a New York Times report that members of the Jan. 6 House select committee are divided on whether to make a criminal referral for former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department. The panel has said it has gathered sufficient evidence to ask DOJ to consider whether to charge Trump with obstructing a congressional proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people by insisting, without evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen from him through voter fraud, and urging his supporters to fight to prevent lawmakers from certifying his loss to President Biden. "There's not really a dispute on the committee," Cheney told CNN's Jake Tapper. 

4

Biden administration to release ghost-gun rule

The Biden administration is preparing to release its long-awaited rule on ghost guns, privately made firearms without serial numbers that are been used in an increasing number of violent crimes, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing three people familiar with the matter. The White House could announce the rule as soon as Monday. The Biden administration has been under mounting pressure to take action to curb gun deaths. The rule has been going through the federal regulatory process for a year, as gun-safety groups and Democratic lawmakers pushed for its release. Gun-rights groups are expected to challenge it in court. Nearly 24,000 ghost guns were recovered at crime scenes from 2016 to 2020.

5

Pakistan lawmakers set to elect new leader after Khan's ouster

Pakistan's parliament is set on Monday to elect and swear in the successor of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-confidence vote early Sunday. Khan's critics accuse him of mismanaging the economy. The leading contender to replace him was Shahbaz Sharif, a brother of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and head of the largest party in a broad opposition coalition that includes groups on the left as well as radical religious parties. Khan's backers, who accused Washington of orchestrating their leader's ouster, walked out of parliament shortly before the vote, in which 174 lawmakers in the 342-seat body voted to remove him, barely securing the simple majority required. Khan's nominee for prime minister was his foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

6

Texas prosecutor drops charges in abortion arrest case

The Starr County, Texas, district attorney's office said Sunday it was dropping murder charges against 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera, who was arrested in the border county over what authorities called a "self-induced abortion." The Starr County Sheriff's Office said in a statement last week that Herrera was charged for "intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion." Activists on both sides of the abortion debate were unsure what law Herrera was being accused of violating, because despite measures Republican lawmakers have pushed through to limit abortion access, the procedure is still legal. The district attorney's office said the case was "not a criminal matter."

7

Scheffler wins 2022 Masters

Scottie Scheffler, the world's No. 1 ranked golfer, won the 2022 Masters on Sunday. It was his first career major title. Scheffler, 25, shot a 1-under-par 71 in the final round to finish the tournament at 10 under, three strokes ahead of second-place finisher Rory McIlroy, who tied the Masters final record with a 64. Scheffler finished with a double bogey on No. 18. As the only player to break par in all four rounds of the tournament, he had plenty of cushion to hold onto the lead. Tiger Woods, making a comeback 14 months after a devastating car accident, finished with his second straight 6-over 78 to tie for 47th place.

8

Musk decides not to join Twitter board in reversal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has decided not to join Twitter's board, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted Sunday. A week ago, the social media company had said in a regulatory filing that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who recently bought a 9 percent stake in Twitter, would join the board and had agreed not to acquire more than 14.9 percent of Twitter's stock. Musk, who has suggested that Twitter doesn't allow enough free speech, had vowed to help "make significant improvements to Twitter." Agrawal said Sunday the reversal was "for the best" but warned of "distractions ahead," adding that Musk is "our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input." Twitter shares fell 8 percent in pre-market trading.

9

Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins dies at 24

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins was fatally hit by a dump truck as he tried to cross South Florida's Interstate 595 on foot, local police said Sunday. He was 24. Haskins was a Heisman Trophy finalist at Ohio State in 2018. He served as a reserve with the Steelers last season and re-signed with the football team in March. The Florida Highway Patrol said Haskins had been walking on the highway near Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport "for unknown reasons" when he was struck and killed shortly after 6:30 a.m. Saturday. He had been in South Florida working out with running back Najee Harris and other teammates. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement that he was "devastated," describing Haskins as one of the team's "hardest workers," and a "great teammate."

10

'Sonic the Hedgehog 2' dominates box office

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 led the weekend box office, hauling in a strong $71 million domestically in its opening weekend. The Sonic sequel broke the record for the biggest debut for a video-game movie, surpassing the $58 million record set by the first Sonic film's three-day debut, which came before the coronavirus pandemic kept audiences away from movie theaters. The sequel's opening was the second-biggest domestic opening weekend of 2022, after The Batman. It was the latest in a series of strong showings for Paramount Pictures films, following Scream, Jackass Forever, and The Lost City. The new Universal thriller Ambulance didn't fare as well, bringing in just $8 million.

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